General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) is to integrate the Leonardo Seaspray 7500E V2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar onto its MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the manufacturer announced on 18 January.
The Leonardo Seaspray maritime search and track AESA radar will be housed in the SeaGuardian’s existing centerline pod. (GAS-ASI)
The two companies are currently working to fit the radar into the centreline pod of the SeaGuardian, which is the maritime-specific variant of the SkyGuardian UAV that is also known in the United Kingdom as Protector.
“The integration of this market-leading radar onto the SeaGuardian will enable persistent maritime ISR and is available to our international customer base,” GA-ASI said in a statement. “The Seaspray 7500E V2 radar is well-suited to the SeaGuardian mission set, using AESA technology to detect, track and classify hundreds of maritime contacts. The integration will also include an open mission systems (OMS) approach, which enables the SeaGuardian and its sensor suite to offer operational and sustainment flexibility to end users.”
As noted by GA-ASI, SeaGuardian already has a multimode maritime surface-search radar with inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) imaging mode, an Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver, and a Wescam MX-20 high-definition electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor. “This sensor suite, augmented by automatic track correlation and anomaly-detection algorithms, enables real-time detection and identification of surface vessels over thousands of square nautical miles,” the company said, adding that Leonardo’s patented small-target detection capability enables the radar to spot extremely difficult targets, such as submarine periscopes and shipwrecked individuals, at long range and in very stormy seas. “A key discriminator of Leonardo’s [AESA] radars is their high reliability and fault tolerance that allows effective operation throughout a mission even if a number of individual radar modules fail.”
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